Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Call That Changed Everything

This post is part of a series called Where's Wuby? Wednesdays where I'll post a new story about Ruby, or diabetic alert dogs in general.  Ruby is a service dog trained to detect high and low blood sugars in Faith and notify me.  She has changed our lives and dramatically improved Faith's blood sugar control.  

If there was ever anything you wanted to know about these dogs, or how they work, ask away and I'll try to answer the best I can; or if you are just as amazed as me at how God created these animals, I hope you'll enjoy reading about the incredible experiences we've had so far with our Ruby.

In the meantime, you can follow Faith and Wuby on Facebook by clicking Here.


You can read the first part of this story here.

Ok, so back to how Ruby came to be our "angel with fur".

The trainer called to tell me the most incredible news!  She began with so, you remember that I told you not to get your hopes up about a DAD? And remember how I told you that it can take years to be matched up with the right DAD, and how it would be a long hard wait?  And remember how I told you that because of Faith's unique situation (being a baby at the time, not even 18 months old), it would take a very special dog?

I wanted to scream, "Yes! I remember all that, you're killing me!  Get to the point!" :)  I could tell she was getting to something big.

Let me back up a minute and say that Wildrose had a group of trained DADs that were already matched up with diabetics and set to go home with them.  These dogs had to be placed and a new batch of puppies started before we could even begin to dream about a DAD of our own.  Among that batch of trained DADs was a one-in-a-million dog named Ruby.  Ruby had been matched up with someone who at the last minute had decided against getting a DAD.  Service dogs are a LOT of responsibility and alter every aspect of your life, and thus aren't a decision to take lightly.

Anyway, when Wildrose began looking at Ruby's specific gifts, and looking at their list of diabetics waiting to be matched up with the right DAD, they noticed right away that Faith and Ruby were a perfect match!

The trainer still wanted to proceed with caution.  A DAD had not been successfully matched up with a diabetic as young as Faith and no one could say for sure how it would work.  Among the many complex things a DAD must learn, Ruby would have to possess a few special attributes.  (This is not an exhaustive list.)

  • A DAD for Faith would have to be able to look to me at all times as her handler, but watch Faith at all times as her responsibility.  (Talk about multitasking!)
  • They would have to be VERY calm and low energy, so as not to overwhelm or scare Faith.  (Or hurt her by being too rough)
  • They would have to be VERY obedient at ALL times, so that I could handle having a service dog, a diabetic toddler, and 3 other children under the age of 7...Every.where.I.go.  You want to feel a pressure cooker environment?  Try checking out at WalMart while a crowd gathers, your diabetic baby's blood sugar plummets while she screams bloody murder, your other 3 are asking for every snack they see in line, your DAD is getting hyper and excited because they are alerting, the customer behind you grows impatient, and the cashier wants to ask a hundred questions about your "precious dawg".  Throw in a few "Oh. My. Gawd.  There's a dog in here!" and "Oh my, is that woman blind?" comments and you've got a good time on your hands.  It was IMPERATIVE that our DAD be calm and quiet in ALL situations, because with a very young diabetic it would be up to me to handle every single aspect of that *super fun* situation.
  • The DAD would have to be steady in ALL situations.  It's one thing to accompany a diabetic everywhere.  It's another entirely to accompany a diabetic that screams and cries ALOT, wreaks of drool and dirty diapers (drool that may smell of a previous high or low blood sugar - talk about complicating things), pulls your tail and ears...  (God bless Ruby...)
There was no way to know if or how this match up would work, without just giving it a go.  

The trainer asked us if we could come to Mississippi to meet Ruby.

Uh.  Yeah!

Oh.  Wait.

We only really started fundraising the day before.

And only had $100.

Not the deposit, not the money needed to buy all the DAD supplies, not the money to spend a week in Mississippi - not even close to the nearly $10K needed.

It was discussed that if I could come up with the deposit, and the money to get to Mississippi, then there were two possible funders for the remainder.  One of which had already heard Faith's story and wanted to help.  

But HOW would I come up with the deposit and travel expenses so quickly?

I got off the phone with my mind spinning!  I immediately called Chuck, and prayed, but quickly got busy with the kids and dinner.  All evening I kept thinking about how in the world I was going to come up with the money for Ruby.

After dinner I got a phone call from the friend that had felt God telling her that Faith would have a DAD.  She was calling to tell me that ...


She had no idea that I had gotten a call earlier that day about a possible match up for Faith.  She still thought we had AT LEAST a year to fundraise!  I hadn't had a chance to call her yet and give her the news!

I immediately started screaming and crying.  My kids started crying and fell to their knees thanking God. It was the most incredible experience.

I'll never forget what my friend told me when I explained to her why I was so excited about having the deposit.  She said, "Honey, my God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and if He wants Faith to have one little ole' dog then she'll have it!"

I was OVERJOYED and SO GRATEFUL to have the deposit and be one step closer - but how would we swing a week long trip to Mississippi?  

I texted my other friend that had offered to help with fundraising to share the news.  She was in the middle of a party, so I didn't call her.  Almost immediately my phone rang.  I answered and it was my friend.  She'd excused herself from her party to call and tell me that she'd heard from her church, and they wanted to pay for the expenses to travel to Mississippi!

I couldn't believe it!  God has done some amazing things in our lives, so I don't know why I was so blown away, but I was!

So, in one day I went from planning to fundraise and wait at LEAST a year for the right DAD, to potentially being matched with the perfect DAD and having the money needed to go get her!

To say I was over the moon would be an understatement.  

But, the trainer kept cautioning me that it might not work out, that Ruby might not be right for our family.

Two weeks later we were in Mississippi meeting Ruby and we've never looked back!

Next week I'll tell you about that first meeting and how Ruby very literally saved Faith's life on their very first night together.  I also have a picture of the moment they met.  :)


  1. I LOVE how Ruby is always right by Faith. The video moved me to tears. What an amazing story Sarah.

  2. I am SOOOOO Crying right now, in front of this silly computer, watching your wonderful video!!!! Oh, that story....I do hope you can write a book some day. :)

  3. Thanks Heather, I do too. It's a dream of mine. We'll see if it happens... :)

    Thanks Reyna, your post had me tearing up today too!

  4. We serve a mighty God who meets us EXACTLY where are needs are. To God be the glory, forever.

    Now I'll go treat my low-- :) blurry vision is my first tip off!

  5. Oh my, oh my. She is a beautiful little one, that girl of yours. Mine just turned 3 and was diagnosed seven months ago. I also have two boys and when we were diagnosed they were 6 months and 5 yrs old. I know that whole Wal-Mart scene all too well. I have never heard of DAD's until now. I'm intrigued. Can you have one and still have other dogs? I also write about our experiences with T1D at and if you look under that category you'll see some entries called the pink elephant. I'll be back for more soon! Big big hugs to you!!!
    xo Jules


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